Origin: L. Difficultas, fr. Difficilis difficult; dif- = dis- + facilis easy: cf. F. Difficulte. See Facile.

1. The state of being difficult, or hard to do; hardness; arduousness; opposed to easiness or facility; as, the difficulty of a task or enterprise; a work of difficulty. "Not being able to promote them [the interests of life] on account of the difficulty of the region." (James Byrne)

2. Something difficult; a thing hard to do or to understand; that which occasions labour or perplexity, and requires skill perseverance to overcome, solve, or achieve; a hard enterprise; an obstacle; an impediment; as, the difficulties of a science; difficulties in theology. "They lie under some difficulties by reason of the emperor's displeasure." (Addison)

3. A controversy; a falling out; a disagreement; an objection; a cavil. "Measures for terminating all local difficulties." (Bancroft)

4. Embarrassment of affairs, especially financial affairs; usually in the plural; as, to be in difficulties. "In days of difficulty and pressure." (Tennyson)

Synonyms: Impediment, obstacle, obstruction, embarrassment, perplexity, exigency, distress, trouble, trial, objection, cavil. See Impediment.

(01 Mar 1998)

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